Be aware while shopping

2017-07-18 06:02

By being aware of your surroundings and by actively managing risks, you can take great strides in being safe while visiting a shopping centre.

This is the view of a private security company representative, who gives advice that he says will hopefully make people bit safer when they are out and about at the shops.

The first rule, according to Jade Hanning, Fidelity ADT’s district manager in the southern suburbs, is being aware and vigilant.

“Criminals depend on their targets being distracted. It is when people aren’t paying attention when they become easy targets for would-be thieves.

“The best option is therefore to be on the lookout for anyone following you or someone loitering at your car in the parking area. Trust your instincts,” he says.

According to Vangate Mall’s Gouwa Waja-Stemmett, visitors to the shopping centre should be vigilant and aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious behaviour to guards at the shopping centre or the police.

“Do not leave your handbags or valuables unattended. All valuables in your car should be safely put away in the boot or under seats to avoid smash-and-grab incidents,” says Waja-Stemmett.

Another risk for visitors to any shopping centre is remote jamming.

“Always park your car in a well-lit, properly secured parking area, ideally with security personnel on duty. When you leave your car, make sure the doors are properly locked. Never just assume that your remote had locked your doors.

“The extra few seconds it takes to make sure the car is properly locked and secured are worth it,” says ­Hanning.

Shoppers should be careful on the way home too, says Hanning.

He recommends being on the lookout for anyone who could be following you from the shopping centre and to drive to the closest police station or security provider guard house if there is any doubt.

“Remember the general hijacking safety tips such as waiting in the road for your house gate to open before driving in, and making sure the gate is closed properly behind your car before getting out,” says Hanning.

More safety tips. Carry as little as possible in handbags or pockets and rather leave unnecessary bank or store cards and large amounts of cash at home.

. Never let your card out of your sight when making purchases.

. Never leave a handbag, purse or wallet in a trolley. If you don’t use a bag, keep your wallet in the front pocket of your jacket or trousers.

. If you need to draw money at an ATM, use a machine in a busy area.

. Be aware of anyone standing nearby and don’t accept help from strangers when entering your Pin number.

. Put your money in your purse or wallet before you walk away from the ATM.

. If you think someone has followed you from the machine, walk into the nearest shop or up to a shopping centre security guard.

. Avoid withdrawing large sums of money at an ATM.

. Do not accept help from strangers at an ATM.

. Protect your Pin number at all times.

. Refrain from forcing your bank card into the ATM slot if there seems to be an obstruction.

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